Attacking the drug problem on the North Coast

A drug addict cleaning his dagga in Shayamoya.

The problem of drug addiction, especially in the townships, can never be over emphasised. However very little has been done to help addicts besides being taken to a rehab centre.

This has resulted in many parents disowning their children and those children being left with no choice but to stay on the streets, stealing to survive.

There are children as young as 12 addicted to dagga, benzene, glue and whoonga.

Shayamoya resident Thokozani Khumalo believes that parents should be taught how to deal with a child who is a drug addict.

“What I have realised is that there is a high number of drug addicted children who are willing to be helped, but they fear being taken away from their homes. If someone is trying to help them they would be happy, only if it can be done within their community,” said Khuzwayo.

A 20-year-old man, who did not want to be named, said he is addicted to dagga and as a result, he ends up stealing to get money for dagga.

“What makes it hard for most of us to quit is that no one is willing to listen to us. They always see us as criminals and treat us badly. That kills our self-esteem and we end up not knowing who should we speak to, even if we want to be helped,” said the young man.

Khumalo said he believes that parents could make a difference if they worked together and share ideas on how to deal with the children, without making them feeling unwanted.

“I regularly meet with addicts and by listening to them, I realise that if we can work together as residents we will be stepping closer to victory against drugs in our community. As much as we need to get rid of drug dealers, we also need to own their market,” said Khumalo.

Khumalo said he needs help to start an anti-drug forum in Shayamoya where the community could interact with addicts and ex-addicts.

“I had spoken to a forum in Chatsworth and they are willing to come on board. However they require a building they can use as a centre,” said Khumalo.

Contact Khumalo on 074 341 9812.

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Sboniso Dlamini

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